According to Reuters, Hulu's board of directors is sending out feeler requests to potential buyers to see if there is any interest in acquiring the popular streaming video service. Here's what you should know about a potential Hulu sale.
1. Hulu is Owned by a Number of Huge Cable Companies
Interestingly, Hulu was started as a joint venture by NBCUniversal, Fox Broadcasting Company, and Disney-ABC Television Group, with addition funding from Providence Equity Partners (they valued Hulu at $1 billion). Hulu was started as a way to combat digital piracy, and has actually been able to slow down piracy of TV shows by offering free content on the site, albeit with commercials. They also offer a paid service, called "Hulu Plus," where users can have access to movies and past seasons of TV shows.
2. Hulu Has Been Up For Sale Before
In 2011, the Hulu Board of Directors put the company up for sale. Companies like Google, Amazon, Yahoo, Dish and others were interested in acquire the streaming video service, but it seems like no offer was attractive enough for the board. Yahoo's bid was halted due to internal issues, while the board wasn't impressed with Google's desire for more rights to the content available on Hulu, even though Google offered the most money.
3. The Board of Directors May Not Actually Sell Hulu
It seems like the company may not actually be sold yet, according to Reuters. Hulu's board is sending out preliminary feelers as a part of an internal strategy review to see how much the company will be valued, but it has yet to get a formal offer.
4. Hulu Makes an Insane Amount of Money
Hulu makes a lot of money, according to what CEO Jason Kilar said in a blog post in December 2012. According to the post, Hulu made $695 million in revenue in 2012, a 65 percent jump from 2011. In addition, Hulu doubled the number of subscribers it had in 2011, to 3 million. It seems like Hulu is still very profitable and only growing more and more.
5. There is a List of Potential Buyers
According to AllThingD, there is a list of potential buyers, including some key players that we've talked about before. A list of companies include Yahoo, which has really turned it around with Marissa Mayer as CEO, and Amazon, which has its own video streaming service called Amazon Instant. I'm sure we could add Google to the list as well, since it was one of the top bidders two years ago. In addition, Ross Levinsohn and Guggenheim Partners, the $160 billion dollar hedge fund that owns the Los Angeles Dodgers and media groups like The Hollywood Reporter, is also reportedly interested.